Events Ahead: What Are You Doing for Valentine’s Day?

Grab your planner when you join me each Monday because I’ll be previewing upcoming events that you won’t want to miss.

Jill M. Rohrbach
The countdown to Valentine’s Day has begun. Dinner, roses, chocolates, diamonds – all are good choices for letting your sweetheart know you care. But here are some other ideas if you’re looking for something different.

Eureka Springs Chocolate Festival
The eclectic getaway town of Eureka Springs hosts the 6th annual Chocolate Lovers Festival at the Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center on Feb. 13 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 pm. If you’re a chocoholic, this is heaven. Believe me, I know. Last year I stood at chocolate fountains coating pretzels, fruit, marshmallows and more before stuffing them in my mouth or putting them in a box for later.

More than a dozen vendors provide fountains overflowing with all varieties of sumptuous chocolate. You’ll also find chocolate candies, ice cream and drinks, as well as chocolate body care products. Contests are held for baked chocolate creations with professional, amateur and youth divisions.

The event benefits local and regional charities and non-profit organizations. Admission is $10 for adults and $ 6 for children under 6 years of age. Want more info? Call 888-465-4753, or go online to

Valentine’s Weekend at Winthrop Rockefeller Institute
Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain (there’s reason enough to go right there) near Morrilton will offer a seven-course Amore Prix Fixe Valentine’s dinner at its River Rock Grill on Saturday, Feb. 13. Seating begins at 5 p.m. and the cost is $60 per person. Overnight accommodations are available, and in my book it is plush lodging folks. I go here as often as I can.

There are additional activities all weekend, whether you’re there as a couple or are involving the entire family in your Valentine’s Day plans. Reservations are required for dinner, lodging and workshops. Call 501-727-5435 for dinner and room reservations. Online registration is available for the educational workshops. Registration deadline is Friday, February 5. You have a chance to win one of three prizes related to the Valentine’s weekend simply by becoming a fan of WRI on Facebook and answer a weekly question.

Sweetheart Weekend at Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area
Spend a day in nature with your sweetheart on Valentine’s weekend through a special event on Saturday, Feb. 13, and Sunday, Feb. 14 at Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area near Rogers. The cost is $60 and limited to the first 10 couples or 20 individuals. Here’s what you get for the price.

Start at 9 a.m. with an Eagle Watch Cruise on beautiful Beaver Lake. You’ll enjoy a thermos of hot chocolate or hot apple cider along with two souvenir mugs from the Hobbs State Park gift shop.

After your cruise you’ll head to nearby War Eagle Mill for a scrumptious lunch of Southern BBQ ribs, potato wedges, coleslaw, roll and drink, plus a present from the Mill gift shop. Next, you’ll meet Hobbs Trail Maintenance Supervisor Al Knox at the Hidden Diversity Multi-Use Trail head on Townsend Ridge Road for a guided, 3-mile round trip to the scenic overlook of the lovely War Eagle Valley. Here you’ll pose for a photograph to remember your weekend. The trip ends with a personal tour of the park’s new visitor center. Tour highlights include the exhibit hall and the building’s LEED certification features.

Reservations and payment must be made in advance. Contact the Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area visitor center at 479-789-5000.

Valentine Dinner and Show at Ozark Folk Center
The annual Valentine Dinner and Show at Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View will be Feb. 13. Enjoy a romantic evening at the park with a special meal at the Skillet Restaurant followed by an evening show with live music. Reservations are suggested. Contact the park at 870-269-3851 or visit for details.

Fort Smith’s Love Train
If you haven’t taken a trip on the Arkansas Missouri Railroad excursion train, this is the perfect time to do it. Take your sweetheart for a ride in style on the meticulously restored antique passenger cars – a first-class parlor car or the 1940s Caboose.

For Valentine’s Day, the railroad will offer “The Love Train.” There will be two Love Train trip. The first will run from Fort Smith to Winslow. It will depart at 11 a.m. from the Trolley Museum located at 100 S. 4th St. The second departs the museum at 5:30 p.m. and is dinner over the Arkansas River.
Find out more at www.arkansasmissouri-rr.comor phone 800-687-8600.
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